I had an interesting thing happen today. Someone actually sat back and critiqued my personality and the way I work in not the most positive way. And even though, he later came to apologize and say he wasn't trying to categorize or judge, it was just more confusing, because if what had transpired wasn't making a personal judgment on someone, I don't know what is. This is what happened.
An acquaintance of mine, throughout the course of one conversation, called me shy, demure, tunnel-visioned, a small-minded actor, that I should loosen up a little, be more inappropriate, and go up to guests at the place I work at and make jokes and conversation. All this was said without him really knowing anything about me, or even an attempt to find out. When I asked why I should "loosen up", he proceeded to say it would be fun. And basically in a nutshell I replied, that that's not me. I'm an introvert, which means my energy is a self produced, precious commodity that I'm not going to just give away. I'm not about to go out of my way, interrupt strangers' conversations with people they actually know, and make them have conversations with me instead. That's not fun for me. (To which he then proceeded to say it would be fun for him. I'm trying to overlook how insanely self-centered and selfish this is, but I can't help that it colors my perception just a little bit.)
To be fair, I have no problem loosening up. But this is my day job, and my primary aim is to work and do my job well. I put my "I'm working" face on. Has anyone cocktailed before? Ever have it crush your spirit? Yeah. I'm not letting that happen. So I have a separate "I'm working" face. End of story. No need to delve deeper, no need to explain.
Especially because I knew what was happening, and I knew where it was coming from. And, I also knew this acquaintance had a tendency to make very, conclusive, matter-of-fact-like statements with minimal information. And up until now when it was directed at me they were all positives, so naturally I didn't mind it. It's one of those things I would do best to let go. And for the most part I did.
The part that bothered me was the fact that this time it was negative and what he said actually bothered me. For a moment I second doubted myself, and all the negative thoughts basically echoing the idea of "You're not good enough" instantly started to barge through my mind.
And despite how it happened in my mind, ironically it was so subtle that I almost didn't even notice it. This has happened before. It happens all the time. You attract things that you were thinking about. Even the under-the-radar thoughts that you didn't realize you were having can manifest certain things. (Meditation definitely helps to increase thought-process awareness. I need to get back on that, stat.) People, who then are attracted to those frequencies of thought, whether they like you or not, project their own insecurities onto you. Hell, parents, the people in the world who are supposed to love you the most, do it all the time. After projecting those insecurities, they then proceed to do little things to make themselves feel better afterwards. And this can be done in any manner. Whether it's detaching from the situation by saying things like "I think you're taking this personally," like as if making very personal comments of judgment about my character and personality is somehow not supposed to be taken personally. Or in another completely different incident with a different person, they critique your physical look and tell you where you need to improve.
And you can let that negativity become your reality too, passively letting someone feed into and perpetuate your thoughts. Or you can do something about it. It's all about how you choose to react.
Hindsight is 20/20, and in retrospect, I understand what was happening. But while in the moment those words did affect me. I am human. And, I had to catch myself. (Again, meditating really helps with this monitoring your thoughts kind of stuff.) I re-framed the experiences to be lessons and a wake up call to my own thought processes.
And my takeaway is this. One. I need to meditate more. And, two. Negative thoughts attract more negative thoughts. And a lot of people out there, without realizing it, in projecting their own issues, will put you down. Nothing anyone says is about you. It's about them. But we're not living in the 90's era of Clueless. We're not even in the era of Mean Girls anymore. Despite the apparent general consensus that the American public is way too dumbed down upon observing its surprisingly positive reaction to people like Donald Trump, people can be smart. They can be passive aggressive. Their own psyche will do things to make them feel better and they won't even consciously realize they're doing it. And, if you're not aware, neither will you.
Hopefully, one day the whole world can sit in a meditation circle and find some peace and awareness. But, until then, what matters, as always, is you. How you choose to react to the negative thoughts. Are you going to let them seep into your psyche and become a part of the beliefs about yourself? Are you going to get mad at the person seemingly unknowingly dissing you? Or are you going to take a step back, realize we're all only human, find compassion, and brush that shit off? (While keeping a healthy distance. Hey, I'm not the Dalai Lama.)
Today I had to reeeeally exercise my compassion muscle, and got some target practice in too. Practice in not letting other people's opinion get to me or define me.
One step closer to not giving a fuck.